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efficient_green_it_virtualization_iGATE efficient_green_it_virtualization_iGATE Document Transcript

  • Efficient and Green IT – Virtualization and Thin Clients Efficient and Green IT – Virtualization and Thin Clients An iGATE Whitepaper Abstract Considering that organisations spend as much as 6% of their revenues on IT, CIOs are on the lookout for reducing operational costs thereby freeing up resources for investment in growth initiatives. At the same time cost savings earned through reduced energy and resource usage contributes to a cleaner and greener organisation. At iGATE virtualization and the deployment of thin clients has contributed to significant reduction of energy emissions as well as reduced operating costs. Other indirect benefits include significant easing of maintenance and support costs, quicker time to market and better server utilizations stats. This paper provides an overview of the above technologies, iGATE’s approach and experience with the above technologies, the best practices that were followed during deployment and finally the value and services that iGATE brings to the table in this sphere.
  • Server Virtualization and thin Clients Table of Contents Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 3 Deployment of Thin Clients and Server Virtualization @ iGATE ................................................ 7 iGATE’s Green IT Value Proposition and Best Practices .......................................................... 12 In Conclusion ......................................................................................................................... 14 References............................................................................................................................. 15 Table of Figures Figure 1 Towards a Greener IT......................................................................................................... 1 Figure 2 Virtualization an Overview................................................................................................. 1 Figure 3 Thin Clients......................................................................................................................... 1 Figure 4: Cost levers of Virtualization .............................................................................................. 8 Figure 5: Sample cost calculations ................................................................................................... 8 Figure 6: Sample Feature comparison ........................................................................................... 10 Figure 7: Virtualization for a healthcare major.............................................................................. 13 Copyright © 2010. iGATE Corporation. All rights reserved 2
  • Server Virtualization and thin Clients Introduction Industries around the world spend between 1 and 6% of their revenues1 on IT and a majority of the industries spend in excess of 3% of their revenue on IT. Given this statistic CIO’s across organizations are under pressure to cut costs so they can improve bottom lines for the organization as well as free resources for growth initiatives within the IT organization (Gartner estimates that 65% of IT budgets1 are targeted at keeping the ‘lights on’, leaving very little resources for growth initiatives). Average CIO’s spend close to 20% of their budgets on data centers (including hardware, software, personnel etc) and using a different yard stick spend around 18-19% of their budgets on hardware1. This paper provides an approach to organizations for tackling the above costs. Virtualization technologies which are going mainstream allow organizations to not only reduce hardware costs but also allow for decreased costs associated with maintenance, energy, disaster recovery etc. This allows for better data centres – that run fewer physical machines and require lesser resources (energy and people) to run. Similarly thin clients allows for organizations to reduce hardware desktop costs as well as management costs. The above technologies are also gaining traction in the market due the fact that they are tools to realise green IT. iGATE has implemented the above techniques in its effort to optimize operational costs as well as reduce its carbon foot print. Figure 1 Towards a Greener IT Server Virtualization 101 Virtualization allows running of multiple operating systems concurrently on the same physical computer by abstracting the physical hardware away from the operating systems. Each of these operating systems runs as a self-contained computer, or virtual machine. Virtual machines are easily portable from one hardware platform to another and this hardware on which virtual machines are running (and the OS running on this machine) is termed the Host. The virtual machines and their operating systems are termed as guests. A virtualization software runs on the host OS and allows for multiple VMs or guests to be run on the host. Virtualization software is also used to create the VMs themselves. Server virtualization provides many direct business benefits and these are driving rapid adoption across industries. Virtualization scenarios include software development and test, server Copyright © 2010. iGATE Corporation. All rights reserved 3
  • Server Virtualization and thin Clients consolidation, re-hosting legacy environments, business continuity, and disaster planning and recovery. Key Benefits and Challenges Direct benefits of virtualization include • Reduced hardware acquisition achieved through consolidation of servers onto a single host • Improved server utilization stats • Reduced indirect costs such as real estate, electricity and cooling costs • Reduced personnel costs through improved administrative productivity. • Reduced software licensing costs achieved for certain software and Figure 2 Virtualization an Overview usage scenarios. • Ability to manage legacy deployments more efficiently While the benefits of virtualization are many some significant challenges need to be planned for and tackled prior to deployment of virtualization. • Issues of performance and availability need to be monitored closely. Though tools are available to allow for effective management of virtual machines these issues do crop up and need to be effectively handled • Cost of virtualization can creep up dramatically when measures have to be taken to solve issues of availability and performance. One must also note that virtualization software itself is expensive and must be chosen carefully by evaluating organisational need. • Initial deployments of virtualization will need higher allocation of headcount and training resources • OS virtualization calls for better storage planning and deployment. o Traditional deployments combine storage and OS on a single machine. So while OS virtualization rationalises the OS footprint across hardware, storage will need to reside externally limiting efficiency gains in management and increasing little used or inactive disks. Copyright © 2010. iGATE Corporation. All rights reserved 4
  • Server Virtualization and thin Clients o Data connections between storage and the hardware hosting VMs will need beefing up as there will be a significant increase in data volumes between the host (having multiple VMs) and the storage. The Thin Client 101 The thin client is the modern day equivalent of a dumb terminal – and provides users with the ability to connect and conduct operations on a central server. It is typically a solid state device with no frills attached(no optical drives, hard drives etc), houses a processor, flash memory for storing the embedded operating system, local RAM, a network adapter, and standard input/output for the display and other select peripherals. These devices connect over the network to a server where all processing and storage takes place. A thin client runs a simplified client operating system such as Microsoft Windows XP Embedded (XPe), Windows CE, or Linux. They typically include other basic software such as Internet Figure 3 Thin Clients Explorer, Windows Media Player, MS Outlook, VNC shadowing, and terminal emulation software that supports dozens of emulation types As mentioned earlier a thin client is not a standalone machine and must be connected to a server to run applications. This is designed keeping in mind applications where users have to perform a well- defined set of tasks on standard server-based applications. Key Benefits and Challenges • Cost benefits – o Thin clients are no-frills kind of machines and thus are priced lesser leading to Lower procurement costs as well as TCO o Thin clients have no moving parts leading to higher reliability and robustness than a PC and extended life. o These smaller devices consume less energy, emit less heat, have a much smaller footprint than a desktop, and are practically silent. All these translate to direct savings in maintenance costs • Security: Thin clients provide enhanced security as they are less vulnerable to data loss or theft since data and applications typically reside on the network. Access for introduction of new data or removal of data can easily be controlled. • Easier management and smaller administrative overhead - These machines are less likely to fail, are less expensive to deploy and manage. These machines are less prone to rogue installations, and virus attacks and since all business applications reside on the server time consuming installs and patch upgrades can be limited to the server. Copyright © 2010. iGATE Corporation. All rights reserved 5
  • Server Virtualization and thin Clients The key challenge that organisations face is to be able to identify areas where thin clients can be used. While organisations can justify the benefits of moving to thin clients they would also need to think ahead and ensure that users will not need to graduate to full-fledged PCs in light of changing business circumstances or IT strategy. Copyright © 2010. iGATE Corporation. All rights reserved 6
  • Server Virtualization and thin Clients Deployment of Thin Clients and Server Virtualization @ iGATE iGATE as part of its operational improvements as well as with the aim of going green has been moving to a virtualized environment for servers and has been adopting thin clients instead of traditional desktops since 2009. The benefits and challenges of this moves is enumerated below. Server Virtualization Drivers for virtualization 1. Migration window: Around 40% of server hardware reached a 4 plus year threshold and called for replacement. This provided for an ideal opportunity to explore consolidation and virtualization. Hence rather than acquire all new servers it was decided to create virtual machines for all them and place them on a reduced number of physical servers. 2. Improve time to market: Prior to virtualization new server procurement lead times were at least a couple of weeks. Currently virtual machines of required configuration can be created and these virtual machines can be hosted on available physical machines. This practice has improved time to market by 75%. 3. Improve software license usage – a. Software licenses for Virtual machines are less constrained than licenses for physical machines thereby allowing for cost savings. E.g. Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise: Run up to four software instances at a time in virtual operating system environments on a server under a single server license7. b. iGATE invests in centers of excellence for evaluating technologies and these centers have varying hardware requirements. Given this scenario short-term usage of hardware is common. Rather than procure specific hardware and leave them idle once the usefulness is met now iGATE creates virtual machines without blocking investment and hardware. 4. Disaster recovery - Virtualization decreases server recovery time from days to hours as virtual machines are backed up on a regular basis and these can be moved to different physical infrastructure almost immediately. 5. Operational and’ Green’ Gains –virtualization helped reduce running costs as well as helped in reducing the organisations carbon foot print (iGate’s views on green and carbon has been articulated by the CEO and can be accessed at http://www.igate.com/ceoblog/the-first- coat-of-green/#more-684) 6. Ensures environment Consistency: It is possible to maintain multiple environments (dev, test etc) and have each one tuned exactly to client specifications. This enables for quick issue/bug resolution during testing or support phases. The Business Case Copyright © 2010. iGATE Corporation. All rights reserved 7
  • Server Virtualization and thin Clients Virtualization at iGATE was evaluated using the model shown below. This model takes into account the direct savings that accrue by going virtual. Total Reduction = 35-40% Traditional server cost Data centre Cooling Electricity Savings Improved server Current Server acquisition Virtualization Real estate and Server Admin administrative Cost Stack Server License cost stack Software overhead Figure 4: Cost levers of Virtualization IGATE worked on virtualising close to 50 servers across locations. Comparative costs are shown below: Unit Price Total Price Description Quantity Remarks US$ US$ Number of Servers to be 50 2500 125000 replaced Cost to Procure, Prepare and 20 Hrs per server @ USD 6 per 50 120 6000 provision servers engineer @ $0.07 Per Kilowatt Hour for servers Power Requirement 50 600 90000 working out to $700 per year. Calculated for 3 years 33 % of the Power Requirement. Cooling Requirement 50 200 30000 Calculated for 3 years Cost of Replacing and 251000 Calculated for 3 years running servers Figure 5: Sample cost calculations Cost of virtualization worked out to $150000 thereby providing a 20% direct saving. A template for building the complete business case is attached below. Copyright © 2010. iGATE Corporation. All rights reserved 8
  • Server Virtualization and thin Clients virtualization business case.xlsx Migration methodology Evaluation – The process of migration starts with an evaluation phase that needs to zero-in 1. The candidate servers to be virtualized: Servers meeting the following criteria were considered – a. Servers above an age threshold b. Servers with low usage stats during use. c. Servers that are used intermittently. d. Any new server environments that need to be created. 2. The virtualization software/platform to be used: based on the indentified servers from the step above the virtualization software needs to be identified (each of the VMs will have requirements that will need to be met by the virtualization software). A sample evaluation is provided below. Features VMWare 4.0 Citirix 5.0 MS Hyper-V 1.0 vSMP Yes (8) Yes (8) Yes (4 Windows Only) Memory Over Commitment Yes No No Live Virtual Machine Migration Yes Yes No (available in R2) VM Load Management Yes (Automated Yes (Alert based) No Or Alert Based) Physical to Virtual Migration Tool Yes Yes Yes (P2V) Role Based Administration Yes No Yes Auto VM Placement at Start up Yes No Yes Fault Tolerance Yes No No Thin Provisioning Yes Yes (Enterprise No Edition) Resource & Power Management Yes No No (DRS,DPM) Automated VM High Availability Yes Yes Yes (MSCS ) (HA) Windows Guest OS Support From NT to 2008 XP, Vista, 2000, 2003 & XP(32bit), Vista(32 bit), 2008 only 2000, 2003 & 2008 only Linux Guest OS Support RHEL (2.1 to 5.x), RHEL (3 to5.x), SLES (9 SLES 10 SLES (8to 10.x), to 10.x), Debian, Cent Ubuntu (7.x to OS & Oracle Enterprise Copyright © 2010. iGATE Corporation. All rights reserved 9
  • Server Virtualization and thin Clients 8.4) Linux Solaris x86 Guest OS Support Yes No No Figure 6: Sample Feature comparison Phasing Once servers for virtualization are selected it is important to phase the move to VMs as phasing greatly reduces implementation risks like formation of performance bottlenecks, inadequate personnel training. Continuous evaluation Post implementation a regular check point was implemented to identify more candidates for virtualization as well as evaluate performance of the virtualized machines Benefits As mentioned in the business case section a clear cut cost saving and an indirect cost saving based on a smaller carbon footprint. Thin Client Deployment Drivers and applicability • In the BPO space users or agents have a well defined set of tasks (based on standard operating procedures) thereby making thin clients appropriate • Data security in the banking BPO space is of paramount importance and this was a key driver for deployment • Management is simplified allowing for centralized control and deployment and reduced support times. • Costs can be controlled as the devices are cheaper to procure as well as run. Business Case A business case similar to the one shown above was built taking into account 1. The setup/ acquisition costs accounting for the reduced procurement costs. 2. The operational costs accounting for reduced electricity consumption, maintenance costs and backup power costs. A similar template as shown above was used to build the business case. Benefits iGATE implemented 100 thin clients for a banking customer and realised Copyright © 2010. iGATE Corporation. All rights reserved 10
  • Server Virtualization and thin Clients • In excess of a Million rupees in power costs over 5 years • Reduced Carbon footprint by 162 tons over same period. • Reduced other maintenance costs (Admin, cooling and backup power costs) by ~60% Copyright © 2010. iGATE Corporation. All rights reserved 11
  • Server Virtualization and thin Clients iGATE’s Green IT Value Proposition and Best Practices While organisations across the world rush to embrace and implement virtualization it is wise to ensure that they learn from the best practices in the industry as well as from the experience of other organisations that have implemented virtualization. Best Practices 1. Carry out a complete cost benefit analysis taking into account all costs. The template provided above gives an exhaustive listing of cost heads 2. Virtualization software comes at a price – Hence it is imperative to evaluate the needs (in terms of implementation features) and pick a platform that meets (not necessarily exceeds) the requirements. Vendors also provide matrices for evaluating best fit servers for virtualisation. E.g. VMware provides guidance for server consolidation in a technical design guide8 . 3. Use a phased approach – especially since all hardware doesn’t become obsolete at once it is prudent to phase the move to virtualization and maximise hardware life. Phasing also helps in building up internal human resource capability while avoiding obvious challenges of performance bottlenecks 4. Look for ‘Migration windows’- Hardware lease expirations or servers going over a age threshold are great candidates for virtualization and such ‘windows’ must be utilized for consolidation and virtualization 5. Develop a continuous evaluation practice to identify servers for virtualization. This is also a great opportunity to evaluate VM performance and rebalance based on application requirements. Services offered 1. Consulting, road mapping and capacity planning for servers 2. Migration of servers to a virtual environment and on going maintenance of deployment 3. Tool expertise includes VMware and Citrix Xen. Copyright © 2010. iGATE Corporation. All rights reserved 12
  • Server Virtualization and thin Clients Figure 7: Virtualization for a healthcare major Remote management of virtualized servers for a healthcare Client About the Client Our client is an international healthcare company with customers in over 190 countries Scale of Operations Total number of VMware hosts managed: 50 Total number of Virtual machines we support: 1167 VMware versions we support from offshore locations: • VMware ESX Server 3.0.2, VSphere 4.0.0 • VMware VCentre 4.0.0 • Vsphere client Scope of Operations • Commissioning new VMware host and virtual machine in VMware datacenter • Physical to virtual , virtual to virtual environment migration • Configuration of virtual network , VLAN in VMware virtual switches • Resource utilization check-up for both VMware server and guest OS • Performance analysis and virtual resource management • Migrating virtual machine across different host server • VMware template creation, cloning of virtual machine • VMware patch management using VMware update manager • VMware cluster preparation, High availability configuration • Setting up distributed resource scheduler rules • Virtual machine backup management through VMware consolidated backup Copyright © 2010. iGATE Corporation. All rights reserved 13
  • Server Virtualization and thin Clients In Conclusion As illustrated in the business cases and calculations above virtualization and thin clients provide significant operational (cost and resource) benefits while also reducing the amount of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. As virtualization technologies evolve business users will find advanced features that overcome the challenges seen today, thereby increasing the motivation to adopt them. Similarly with Green IT catching up users will start to explore more applications for thin clients. Copyright © 2010. iGATE Corporation. All rights reserved 14
  • Server Virtualization and thin Clients References 1. Gartner : IT Key Metrics Data 2010 2. http://blogs.gartner.com/thomas_bittman/2009/08/11/virtualization-unlocks-cloud- computing/#comments 3. http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/3/9/439a0b7d-7b02-48ab-a1ad- fa58724f9e86/VS05R2SP1_Microsoft-AMD%20Virtualization%20Whitepaper_Final.doc 4. http://www.computerworld.com/pdfs/Virtualization%20Guides_Overview.pdf 5. http://www.infomgmtsol.com/ims/thinclient_faq1_IMS.pdf 6. http://www.hp.com/sbso/solutions/pc_expertise/article/thinclients_consider.html 7. http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/virtualization.aspx 8. VMware ESX Server: Advanced Technical Design Guide Copyright © 2010. iGATE Corporation. All rights reserved 15